The Vietnam Business Forum 2011, themed “New period for Competitive Growth” opened in Hanoi on December 2, serving as a venue for domestic and foreign-invested enterprises, donors and the Vietnamese Government to discuss Vietnam’s business environment.
According to the report on the current business environment presented by the forum’s secretariat, Vietnamese enterprises faced various difficulties in 2011.
A survey of 240 enterprises revealed that their assessment of the business environment in 2011 was the most negative for the past three years, with an average score of 2.04 points, in comparison with 2.52 points in 2010 and 1.9 points in 2008 (during a global financial crisis).
Only 26 per cent of surveyed enterprises said the business environment was good or very good, half of last year’s figure.
However, 69 per cent of the surveyed enterprises said they will expand business in the next three years, taking into account the long-term potential of Vietnam’s economy.
Macro-economic management was listed for the first time as one of three top concerns about the business environment. Foreign-invested enterprises were more pessimistic than their local counterparts.
Chairman of EuroCham in Vietnam Alain Cany said that his office’s quarterly business environment index reduced from 78 points to 52 points in 2011. He attributed European firms’ concerns about the 28-per cent decrease in FDI in the first nine months of this year and an inflation rate of nearly 20 per cent.
According to Cany, Vietnam needs to speed up reform of its economy, finance and education, if the country wants to pursue a sustainable economic development model.
To attract quality foreign investors, he suggested the Vietnamese Government in 2012 focus efforts on removing unnecessary restrictions in market access which harm trade liberalisation.
The Government should continue solving bureaucratic and corruption issues, reduce and simplify administrative procedures at all levels, as well as providing protection and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Chairman of AmCham in Vietnam Christopher Twomey shared information on the improvement of business conditions to promote socio-economic development in the country, stressing that trade and foreign investment-related areas generate jobs and income while tax turnover, exports, foreign currency and technology transfer orient the socio-economic development strategy.
He proposed Vietnam implement sound economic policies, legal system and regulations, transparency and efficiency in administrative agencies and public infrastructure agencies, including transport, electricity, communications, education and health care network, to absorb investment, promote trade and stimulate socio-economic development.
At the forum, the Vietnamese Government’s representatives answered recommendations and proposals from working groups on banking, capital markets, production and distribution, taxation and land.
The Vietnam Business Forum is an annual event held on the threshold of the Consultative Group Meeting scheduled for December 6. It was chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, Country Programme Director of the World Bank Keiko Santo and Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation./.